East Rutherford, NJ --- Emeritus Maximus, who was purchased for $248,000, was the sales topper Monday at the Meadowlands January Select Mixed Sale presented by Tattersalls.
Kevin McDermott bought the 4-year-old male pacer for brothers John and Tom Cancelliere.
“He’s Roman, so I had to get him,” John Cancelliere said, laughing. “We’re from the same peninsula.”
Emeritus Maximus was among three horses to sell for more than $200,000. Five-year-old male trotter Appomattox sold for $240,000 to Finland’s Reima Kuisla, with trainer Liisa Vatanen signing the ticket, and 4-year-old male pacer Wake Up Peter went for $210,000 to trainer Ray Remmen.
A total of 17 horses sold for at least $80,000.
Emeritus Maximus is a son of stallionRocknroll Hanover out of the mare Eternity’s Delight. He has won six of 35 career races and earned $292,305. His most recent victory was Jan. 18 at the Meadowlands, where he won by six lengths in 1:50.2.
Last year, he won five times and banked $245,397 out of the stable of trainer Tony Alagna. He won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and an elimination for the Hempt Memorial. He finished second to Lucan Hanover in the New Jersey Classic and was third in the Matron Stakes.
“We talked to a bunch of people and we kind of liked him, so we went for him,” Cancelliere said. “He’s got to race against some of the best horses out there; it’s as tough as it’s going to get. You’ve got some killers floating around out there (in the older pacer division) and he’s still a babe in the woods. But you always have high hopes.”
Alagna’s stable also raced Wake Up Peter last season. A son of Rocknroll Hanoverout of the mare Lovely Lady, Wake Up Peter earned $307,091 despite going winless in 19 starts. No 3-year-old pacer in history has ever earned as much money while failing to win a race.
For his career, Wake Up Peter has won three of 29 starts and earned $604,821. Last year, he was third in the North America Cup, Cane Pace and American-National Stakes.
“We liked the other horse better, Emeritus Maximus, but we couldn’t get him,” Remmen said. “We took a shot at this one. He fits some late closers here at the Meadowlands; maybe we can get a little money back. I think he’ll make a solid racehorse.
“He doesn’t really match up with the good ones, we know that. But he’s solid. He raced against those good ones all year and he never really got his heart broken. A lot of horses would have called it off and said they were tired of chasing those horses, but he didn’t. He kept chasing them.”
Appomattox, who won seven of 45 lifetime races and $407,858 out of the stable of Frank Antonacci, was the top selling trotter. He finished second to My MVP in the 2012 Kentucky Futurity final and was second to Market Share in that same year’s American-National.
He is a son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Courtney Hall. Appomattox’s mother is a full sister to millionaire Cameron Hall.
“He’s just a gorgeous, good-looking, all-around nice horse,” Vatanen said. “He’s going to stay here for now and eventually he’ll probably be going overseas. He’s very well bred, he’s beautiful, and he stands good. There’s nothing bad to say about him.”
Vatanen, who previously worked for trainerTrond Smedshammer and has been on her own for two years, didn’t expect Appomattox to go for such a high price.
“We thought maybe $200,000, but (Kuisla) really wanted him. He’s got some nice horses at home, but he wants to own a very nice one over here. He’ll have a little bit of a break and we’ll go from there.”
Breeder Steve Jones bought 5-year-old female pacer Big McDeal for $125,000.
A daughter of McArdle out of the mare Ideal Gal, Big McDeal won 11 of 56 career starts and earned $818,544.
As a 2-year-old, she won the Champlain Stakes and a division of the International Stallion Stakes by a head over American Jewel in a world record 1:50.2 at The Red Mile. At 3, she won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in a world record 1:49.1 at The Meadows. She finished second to Economy Terror in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.
Big McDeal is a half-sister to 2010 Empire Breeders Classic winner Galimony and her second dam, Before Sunrise, won the 1996 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers.
“She’s done racing,” Jones said about Big McDeal. “I’m going to send her to the farm and probably breed her to Somebeachsomewhere, but I haven’t really decided on that yet.
“I’m just happy to get her. You never know what she’s going to do as a broodmare, but her mother has had three fillies that were all very nice fillies. She’s got everything going for her, in my opinion. She’s got great pedigree, great conformation, great racetrack performance. I don’t really know anything she doesn’t have.”
Other horses to sell for at least $100,000 were female pacer Yagonnakissmeornot, male trotter Toss Cartwright and male pacer Sparky Mark.
A total of 234 horses were sold for $5.97 million, bringing an average of $25,519. Those numbers were better than in 2013 when 206 horses brought $4.54 million and an average of $22,085.
Pacing males topped the sale for the second straight year as 97 head sold for an average of $29,754. In 2013, 71 pacing males sold for an average of $29,341.
To see all the results from Monday's sale, click here.
by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications